The Backroom at Moody's

In the dim and cozy backroom at Moody’s, amidst the cast-iron cocottes, cutting boards, and luscious legs of hanging ham, you’ll find a cuisine that’s easy on the eyes. When the Bolognese arrives, you’ll swoon over the undulating edges of its homemade mafaldine pasta and the glossy sheen of the barely poached egg resting on top. But this is just the beginning: The real revelation happens in your mouth, when those deep sweet-nutty flavors of pancetta coat the palate. And while the meatballs look uncharacteristically graceful surrounding house-made ricotta and dusted with flakes of Parmigiano, it’s the unmistakable ’nduja kick that will linger on your taste buds and in your memories.

This is how it should be in the kitchen of a “charcutier.” Like any Old World master of cured meat, Joshua Smith doesn’t just use charcuterie to enhance his food. Rather, he uses the food to showcase charcuterie’s virtues: the complex and succulent aromas and flavors that can only be achieved through slow and patient curing. Of any chef in town, Smith knows cured meat best; he’s the one who founded New England Charcuterie—along with Moody’s Deli—in 2012.

The adjacent Backroom, opened in 2015, is a testament to Smith’s prowess beyond the realm of curing. His impressive resume—which includes past roles as sous chef at Boston’s Four Seasons and executive chef at Tico—shines through here in brilliantly executed cuts of meat. Take the blackened Smoked Wagyu Brisket, which looks like a filet but cuts like slow-cooked BBQ. Eat it right off the thick cutting board it’s served on; there’s no reason to hide your carnivorous instincts in Boston’s most fervent shrine to the infinite wonders of meat.

Would you like to eat an entire pig? Us too. Book ahead with at least five others and Moody’s will cook one up for $85 per person.

We know you don’t make it to Waltham very often, so take advantage of the detour and swing by one of the best antique and vintage furnishing stores we know of: Ramble Market on Green Street.

Must Haves

  • Go for six—where else in town can you choose from almost 20 house-cured options? The basics draw from Old World tradition (we love the Bresaola and the Coppa), while cured sausages allow Smith to innovate with flavor (don’t skip the Maple Togarashi).

  • Made with meat scraps, which are the best kind of scraps.

  • Bolognese meets carbonara; break up the egg and mix it all around.

Fun Fact

Sit at the bar to ogle the Legend meat slicers. These painstakingly restored American-made beauties from the early 1900s are operated by hand crank.

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